Radiotherapy Treatment Planning

Treatment planning

The type of radiotherapy and whether or not it is an appropriate treatment for you is decided on an individual basis. Different cancer types respond to radiotherapy in different ways. For this reason, all patients need an individual treatment plan. 

The planning of your radiotherapy usually starts with a CT scan in one of our CT simulators.

We have 3 state of the art CT simulators. CT simulator records multiple images over a period of time. This allows the observation and tracking of internal organ movement, for example a tumour in the lung will move with each breath as the lung inflates and deflates. This a valuable tool for accurately planning and treating tumours in or near organs that move such as those in the chest or abdomen. 

Your doctor or radiographer will explain the planning procedure to you. They will also make you aware of any extra preparations or procedures and explain these to you. If you know what type of treatment you are having, you can download the appropriate information leaflet from the resources section

In addition to our CT scanners, there are two planning systems enabling complex 3D planning to take place. Information from the CT scan is used by your doctor alongside either our radiographers or our physics planning department to produce an individual plan for you. This is a complex process, and has to be completed before any treatment can start. 

Please be aware that your doctor may not always be available when you come for your planning appointment and you may see another healthcare professional.

Planning and Brachytherapy

The Planning Section comprises a large team of Clinical Scientists and Dosimetrists. Planning staff use sophisticated planning software to prepare customised treatment plans for each patient, to be delivered using a linear accelerator. Each treatment plan is designed to ensure that the tumour can receive as large a radiation dose as possible, whilst minimising the dose received by healthy tissue and sensitive organs.

Alternatively, patients may receive treatment using radioactive sources (Brachytherapy). These sources are prepared by Radiotherapy Physics staff, who must follow strict radiation safety procedures and undertake careful monitoring and accounting of all radioactive material used. Most Brachytherapy at the Beatson is carried out using state-of-the-art High Dose Rate (HDR) treatment units. These devices deliver treatments in around 10 minutes.

Alongside routine clinical planning, the team also supports a large number of clinical trials running at the Beatson, and the development and implementation of new radiotherapy techniques, such as stereotactic ablative radiotherapy (SABR) for prostate cancer, and image-guided Brachytherapy.

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